Today, President Obama is expected to announce the withdrawal of as many as 33,000 troops from the war in Afghanistan by the end of 2012. While this announcement is largely being portrayed as a serious reduction of troops, it is important to look at the numbers in context.
ThinkProgress has assembled the following graph showing that if the reductions are carried out as planned, the United States would still have far more troops in Afghanistan than it did when Obama came into office and more than at any point during former president George W. Bush’s administration:
This means that the troop reduction would not put us much closer to actually ending the war by the end of 2012. Rather this would simply scale back the second surge of 30,000 troops that President Obama announced in December 2009. It would also maintain the first surge of 17,000 troops Obama ordered upon entering office. This comes at a time when a record number of Americans want to end the war in Afghanistan and the costs of which are putting the United States deeper into debt.